Arts & Entertainment

This Summer’s Forgotten Cinematic Masterpiece; Blue Beetle

By Tais Soto-Vaca

Blue Beatle Promotional ImageWarner Bros. Pictures
This summer had theaters packed, with Barbie and Oppenheimer fans ready to watch these two box-office-score-shattering movies, but when it came time to watch the latest DC superhero movie; Blue Beetle, people seemed less excited. This true tribute to Latin culture is action-packed and heartbreaking at the same time, truly a must-watch.
With emotional tear-jerking moments and fantastical fights, this movie follows law school graduate Jaime (Xolo Maridueña) (not “Jaymee” but “Haime” ) Reyes, as his family faces eviction which leads him and his sister (Belissa Escobedo) to take jobs as cleaners for the wealthy and powerful Kord family to pay back their family home. While working there he meets Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine), who manages to get him fired before offering him a job at Kord Industries, a military weapon-creating company owned by her aunt (Susan Sarandon), instead.
Things take a wrong turn when Jenny entrusts Jaime with the Scarab, an alien artifact that, when opened by a deserving individual, fuses with their exoskeleton to give them superpowers, which she has stolen from her aunt and Kord Industries, in an attempt to sabotage her aunt's plan of creating a super army. This launches Jaime, his family, and Jenny into an adventure to stop Kord Industries' plan and get the Scarab out of Jaime, all while escaping Jenny’s aunt who is trying to get the Scarab back. Cue the epic fights, emotional moments, and an all-around rollercoaster of emotions.
Like many viewers I went into this with low hopes overall, however, I was happily surprised to see Chavo del Ocho references, Spanglish, and even full-on scenes in Spanish. This shows a huge growth in Latin representation, where before we were either the exotic woman or the garbage boy, we are now saving the world.
Co-advisor of the Latino Student Union Mr. Soto shared a unique opinion about the movie’s groundbreaking nature. “Growing up superheroes were Superman, Batman, these American icons that had nothing to do with me. But now kids grow up seeing a superhero on the big screen who is like them, motivating them to dream big. Now Hispanic kids can dream to be anything.”
Representation truly matters, yet it seems that as more diverse stories come out more backlash does too. Mr. Soto believes that because many viewers cannot relate to the Latin experience, they are driven away from films such as Blue Beetle.  
Now, I will not claim this movie is perfect, at times the dialogue felt corny at best (if not completely ridiculous), there was little time allotted to the passing of one of the most influential characters in the story and Jenny Kord still fell under the stereotype of “beautiful exotic women gets forgiven despite ruining everyone’s lives.”
Jenny specifically felt overly surreal and more of a male fantasy if anything, with no actual creative backstory, she was simply a Brazilian orphan.
Perhaps it is my cultural connection to the film that allows me to forgive all of its faults. As a Latina who grew up in a mix of cultures and traditions often forgotten in Hollywood this movie called to me. The fact that throughout the film Hispanic culture is portrayed in a positive light by actual Latino actors and directors is a good sign of our societal and cinematic progress.
One can only hope that more Hispanic superheroes like Jaime are to come.